272 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 figs., 9 tables, notes, index
Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society
For those fortunate enough to reside in the developed world, death before reaching a ripe old age is a tragedy, not a fact of life. Although aging and dying are not diseases, older Americans are subject to the most egregious marketing in the name of "successful aging" and "long life," as if both are commodities. In Rethinking Aging, Nortin M. Hadler examines health-care choices offered to aging Americans and argues that too often the choices serve to profit the provider rather than benefit the recipient, leading to the medicalization of everyday ailments and blatant overtreatment. Rethinking Aging forewarns and arms readers with evidence-based insights that facilitate health-promoting decision making.
Over the past decade, Hadler has established himself as a leading voice among those who approach the menu of health-care choices with informed skepticism. Only the rigorous demonstration of efficacy is adequate reassurance of a treatment's value, he argues; if it cannot be shown that a particular treatment will benefit the patient, one should proceed with caution. In Rethinking Aging, Hadler offers a doctor's perspective on the medical literature as well as his long clinical experience to help readers assess their health-care options and make informed medical choices in the last decades of life. The challenges of aging and dying, he eloquently assures us, can be faced with sophistication, confidence, and grace.
"With this thoughtful guide, Hadler urges better options for end-of-life care than a lonely, traumatic last stop at the hospital."
"Hadler advocates informed decision making pertaining to all stages of aging."
"All Americans over the age of 45 as well as health care providers and political leaders should read this book. . . . Hadler provides useful insights into successful aging within the context of this challenging system. Highly recommended."
"With passion and enthusiasm, Hadler offers a doctor's perspective that could prove useful for many people struggling to make better choices and increase wellness as they age."
"[Hadler's] questioning of many conventional practices is refreshing and important. . . . In pleading for caution and clinical wisdom, he also offers a partial solution to the huge problem of how we might afford to provide good medical care for old people."
--British Medical Journal
"A book for all readers entering the aging years, especially those who wish to avoid unnecessary and futile tests and procedures . . . . Rethinking Aging is a sobering book, calling for a careful and blunt dialogue about end-of-life and aging issues. It should evoke much discussion and debate about the proper application of medicine and surgery in the aging population."
--Clifton K. Meador, MD, JAMA
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